A few years ago, if you asked anyone how they felt about going digital, they would probably tell you that they love the idea of having a paperless office or never having to worry about losing anything again. But when it comes to our personal lives, many of us are still hesitant to let go of the tangible. We cling to our wallets and our paper money, not realizing that there are actually many benefits to going digital. In this post, we’re going to show you how to move everything from your wallet to your phone.
A word of warning
A word of warning: While it is becoming more and more common to use your phone as your primary means of carrying identification and other essential documents, not every institution will accept the digital version or photos of things like your ID or insurance information. For example, some police will not accept digital proof of car insurance if they pull you over, and some doctor’s offices will want to make a copy of your actual insurance card. So, while it is definitely convenient to move everything over to your phone, it is still a good idea to have a small wallet on hand until everyone catches up. Another option is to use a wallet case for your smartphone, which will give you the added benefit of protection for your device.
So you’ve decided to ditch your bulky wallet in favor of your sleek new smartphone. Smart move! But before you can do that, you need to make sure that your phone is set up to store all of your essential IDs and cards. Luckily, Apple Wallet supports a number of student IDs, and individual schools offer their own on-screen versions. You can also store your driver’s license (or other sensitive IDs like a Social Security card) in a secure password management app such as 1Password or Dashlane. Just be sure not to take photos of your driver’s license or other official IDs and store them on your smartphone’s photos app or send them over email – that’s just asking for trouble!
Have you ever stopped to wonder why you keep your receipts? If it’s just a habit, you can safely say no thank you at the register or put them in the nearest trash can instead of your wallet. But if you use them, say for expense reports, taxes or to check against your credit card bill, a digital version should work just as well. You can take photos using your phone’s camera app, but they’ll clutter up your gallery. There are low-tech options, such as using the iOS Notes app and taking photos in there. When it comes to moving away from paper receipts, there are plenty of solutions to fit everyone’s needs.
Building access cards
Building access cards are a thing of the past—for the most part. Many large security companies, such as HID Global, have an option that allows employees to scan their access card directly onto their smartphone. This eliminates the need for a keychain, lanyard or wallet-sized card. If your building or company offers this service, be sure to ask your HR department if it's possible to switch over to the smartphone version. It's a great way to lighten your load and never lose your access card again!
Credit and debit cards
This is one of the hardest to let go, and with good reason. If your phone dies, is lost or broken, or if you’re someplace with an old payment system, you could be stranded without any money. The good news is that you can still keep your card for those instances when you need it. Instead of carrying the entire thing around in your wallet, though, why not move the rest of your cards to your phone’s mobile wallet? Android, iOS and Samsung have built-in mobile payment systems that use NFC (near-field communication) technology to wirelessly make payments on your card in stores or restaurants. So long, bulky wallets!
Cash is slowly becoming a thing of the past. With the advent of payment apps such as Venmo, PayPal and Cash App, it's easier than ever to pay for things without having to carry any paper money around. But even though you can use your phone to pay for everything from rent to cocktails, there are still some situations where cash is king. For example, if you're splitting a bill at a restaurant, it's easier to just hand the waiter a couple of bills than to try and fumble with your debit card. And if you want to leave a generous tip, cash is always the way to go. Plus, in case of an emergency, you'll be glad you have some cash on hand. That said, you don't need to carry a wad of cash around with you all the time - just keep a few twenties in your wallet for those occasional situations when cash is the only option.
If you've been considering ditching your wallet in favor of your smartphone, you're not alone. A growing number of cities are allowing riders to pay for public transportation with just a tap of their phone. If you live in one of the six cities where this payment method is available – New York City, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago or Portland, Ore. – you're in luck. All of these cities have added the ability to pay for a subway or bus ride by tapping your smartphone or smartwatch at the entrance. So how does it work? Your smartphone's built-in NFC chip will trigger the payment as you enter. If your city isn't on that list, don't worry – it's only a matter of time. More and more cities are working on adding smartphone-payment options to their public transportation systems.
If you want to ditch your wallet but keep all your cards in one place, your best bet is to go digital. And fortunately, it's the golden age for digital library options. Many library systems have their own apps where you can store your card information for your entire family. You can also save them in password managers like 1Password or LastPass. Just be sure to keep your login information safe and close at hand. Another option is to take a photo of the bar code on your library card and save that image somewhere safe. That way, you'll always have it handy for any in-person checkouts.
Your own business cards
You're out and about, meeting new people and making connections. It goes without saying that you should always have your business card on hand. But what if you don't want to carry around a bulky wallet? Or what if you lose your business cards? No problem. Just take a photo of your business card and keep it handy on your phone. Next time you meet someone you want to connect with, offer to email or text them the image or your contact info on the spot. You can also offer to let them take a picture of a real one and hand it back—that way, you won't have to carry any extra cards around with you. And if you're ever in a bind, you can always use our Contact Us page to get in touch!
Coronavirus vaccination cards
As we all know, the current pandemic has everyone on high alert. And if you're one of the lucky ones who have yet to be affected, you're likely taking all the precautions necessary to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. One important step you should take is getting all your necessary vaccinations up-to-date. You'll want to have your vaccination records on you at all times, especially if you are taking a trip or live someplace with vaccine mandates. Many states have added digital options for proving your vaccination status. Start by checking your state's department of health website to see if it offers an option to port your records directly into your phone's wallet or its own app. If not, reach out to your healthcare provider and ask if they can provide you with an electronic copy of your vaccination history that you can store on your phone.
When most people think about digitizing their life, they think about moving their photos and music to the cloud. But there's another category of information that's just as important—and that's your loyalty cards. These cards have all sorts of important numbers on them, from your credit card number to your Social Security number. Rather than just keeping these cards in your wallet, you can store them in a password manager app safely with an attached image of the card. That way, you'll always have them with you when you need them. But what if you need to use the magnetic strip on the back or the RFID chip inside? In that case, you might have to keep the physical card on you.
If you're looking to make the switch to digital-only transactions, here are your options for moving all of your gift cards over. First, consider whether you can ask people to give you digital gift cards upfront. It can be tricky to transfer the balance from a physical card online, and some stores don't allow it. If you can't get a digital gift card, try taking a photo of the card and storing it securely on your phone. You should also show any PIN (often under a little scratch-off square) and keep the original in case a store won't take the digital version. If you have any gift cards for stores that don't have an online presence, you might be able to cash them in at a different store. The sites that buy these balances back take a cut, so your best bet might be to go shopping ASAP.
Most people these days show off photos on their phones. They might take a quick snap of their dinner or post a selfie on Instagram, but if you want to have that perfect selection of wallet-worthy shots ready to brag about, you should make a special album just for them. That way when you show people your family, you don’t end up swiping through unrelated or embarrassing pictures. It can be hard to cut down on the number of photos you take, but it’s definitely worth it to have a few select shots that are really impressive. And if you want to make your phone’s wallpaper extra special, choose a group shot that really captures your personality and makes you happy.
Moving everything from your wallet to your phone can be a big adjustment, but it's worth it for the convenience and security of never having to worry about losing your wallet again. Make sure to take your time in making the switch and to only add the cards and information you feel comfortable with having on your phone. With a little planning and patience, you'll be able to ditch your wallet for good and use your phone as your new go-to source for all things financial.
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